While you might already be familiar with the most common fees (sales tax, documentation and vehicle registration fees) which vary in price depending on how expensive the car is, there are other fees dealers are very subtle about including in the invoice list.
But it’s not just you who’s suddenly realizing there may be more hidden fees when buying a car. Sadly, this happens to most car buyers. Hidden fees are those so-called “social” fees dealers add to the price of the car, making it escalate to an amount that often looks more like in an astronomical figure and less like a good deal. The good news is that with a little help and some tips, there’s no way you’ll fall for the trap. Here are some basic hidden fees you’ll spot easily the next time you want to buy a car.
You will encounter one of two possible scenarios in this particular kind of fee. One possible option is that you’ll notice an official advertising fee included within the original invoice list for your vehicle. If you find this, you have to pay for it, whether you like it or not. However, if your dealership includes a “non-official” advertisement fee (mainly to cover the expense of the advertisement efforts of the said dealer), you can either negotiate a discount or even insist in not paying it.
As mentioned earlier, some sneaky dealers will slip in some made-up fees that are actually their own responsibility to cover, such as Dealer Prep or Shipping. If the original price does not include this officially, it is your right as a customer to negotiate a rebate.
This specific fee is one of the most subtle details you’ll come across on a contract. You should know before you sign that every state has a legal limit on how much “doc fees” are to be charged. Find out early on what the limit is for your state. If the doc fee in your dealership is too high in comparison to the local limit, be especially aggressive about your rebate.
Final Price Tag
The most important thing to keep in mind as you start the process of getting a new car is the final price tag. Read the contract from top to bottom. Ask the dealer about each and every fee and don’t leave until you’re satisfied with the answer. Remember, their integrity is on the line. And the last thing that they need is one unhappy customer who feels ripped off for falling into the most common trick in the business book: offering one deal that ends up costing a lot more than what they offer.
Knowing exactly what kind of ride you’re looking for is just part of your job. Get informed in terms of the legislation and regulations your local dealer has to abide by before signing, in order to avoid misunderstandings and, on the long run, a debt that you could avoid from the get go.